Just one cup of kale fills your daily requirement for vitamins A, C, and K. It also contains iron, calcium and potassium, as well eye protective lutein and zeaxanthin. The calorie/protein ratio is really phenomenal - one cup of raw kale has 33 calories and 2 grams of protein. You're probably familiar with green curly kale, pictured above; let's get to know some other varieties:
- Green curly kale is the most common variety you'll see in supermarkets. It is great eaten raw in salads or steamed, and makes the most amazing kale chips. To use, strip the leaves from the stem using your hands and tear into bite sized peices.
- Siberian kale is more likely to be found at your farmer's market. It is lighter in color than other varieties and has a more delicate texture and flavor. This is great in soups and salads.
- Red Russian Kale has flat leaves and a purple stem. Its stems are woodier than other varieties so keep that in mind as you use it that you may want to remove and discard them.
- Lacinato kale looks very different. The leaves are long and look like what you'd imagine dinasaur skin might be like. Some people refer to lacinato kale as 'dino kale' for this reason. This variety is well suited for slicing into thin shreds and eating raw. One of my favorite ways to use dino kale is to make a supergreen guacamole. Thinly slice the kale and place in a bowl with a little sea salt and lemon juice. Massage the kale until it is limp, then add to your favorite guacamole recipe.
How to Eat More Kale
- Make a green smoothie - Add a banana, a handful of kale, 1/2 cup water and a couple of ice cubes. In just a couple of minutes you've got an easy green smoothie.
- Add to salads - Start out with just a few leaves of kale torn into small pieces in your regular salad. As you get used to the stronger flavor and texture, start adding more.
- Steam them - Use a steamer basket in a pot of boiling water. Steam small peices of kale until tender, about 10 minutes. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice and crushed red pepper.
- Make kale chips - If you haven't tried kale chips yet, you don't know what you're missing. These crunchy morsels give you that potato chip crunch with none of the potato chip pounds. Tear curly kale into bite sized peices and drizzle with olive oil. Preheat the oven to 350 and arrange the kale peices on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the edges are brown. Be careful not to over cook them, they do burn easily. Once they're done, enjoy immediately. Sometimes I can barely get the kale chips into a serving bowl before they're gone!
- Make a raw kale salad - using bite sized pieces of kale in a bowl, drizzle olive oil and lemon juice and massage the kale with your hands until it wilts. This softens up the tough exterior, making it tender and easier to eat. Dress with your favorite creamy dressing or stir in some mashed avocado.
What's your favorite way to eat kale? Share in the comments below!